‘Fords have always been my thing’

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Ford fanatic . . . Alan Clearwater, of Papanui Inlet, and his 1946 Clubman Coupe.GG"It really flies" .. The front of Alan Clearwater's 1959 Ford Ranchero ute.Baby blue .. The rear of Alan Clearwater's 1961 Ford Fairlane 500. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Ford collector Alan Clearwater, of Papanui Inlet, talks to Shawn McAvinue about his fleet of classic cars.

Tell me about your 1946 Ford Clubman Coupe?

I bought it from a guy in Auckland about four months ago. He imported it from Cincinnati. The V8 flathead engine is original and done 39,000 miles [62,765km]. It’s probably one of the best in the country for originality.

How many Fords do you own now?

Five – the Clubman, a 1947 Ford Jailbar pickup, a 1949 Ford Single Spinner, a 1959 Ford Ranchero ute and a 1961 Ford Fairlane 500.

Why do you collect Fords?

My older brothers had them when I was young, and one or two neighbours had them, so it’s in my blood. If you offered me a Chev, I’d say ‘it’s very nice but no thank you’. Fords have always been my thing.

Where did you get the Ranchero from?

From Auckland about three years ago. It has a 351 Windsor motor – it really flies.

Where did you get your two-door baby blue Fairlane 500 from?

I bought from a dealer in New Plymouth about two years ago. It has the original engine but the original three-speed column gear lever was replaced with a four-speed floor-mounted gear lever and it goes very nicely.

One or two people have offered to buy it off me but I waited 50 years to get one, so I’m not in a hurry to sell it.

Where did you get the Single Spinner from?

A friend bought it at a swap meet in Pennsylvania about four years ago and it’s only done 28,000 original miles.

How about the Jailbar pickup?

I bought it in Abbotsford about seven years ago and restored it from the ground up.

Why is it called a Jailbar?

The grill looks like jail bars.

Do you drive the Fords?

I love driving all of them. Some people buy old cars and leave them in a shed to collect dust but I use them.

How many Fords have you owned?

About 20. When I was 17, I drove another Ford Single Spinner around the North Island in the early 1960s. From North Cape and back – what a great time.